Balance on One Foot · 12 April 2013

Sometimes a simple test can be an indicator of our health.

After watching the PBS show Eat, Fast and Live Longer with Michael Mosley, I decided to do one of the tests that they showed. I balanced on my non-dominant leg with my eyes closed. It should be a trivial thing, but apparently as we age, we cannot do it as long as we could when we were young. And that is the point of the test. It is supposedly an indicator of a person’s “real age.”

In the show, Michael Mosley could not balance for more than a few seconds. It was entertaining watching his arms and legs flail about. The person who ate a calorie restricted diet did it for over a minute.

Naturally, I had to take the test. I did it for over a minute too.

I went to and found the balance test they did on the show. The website gives a person’s “balance-based real age” based on how many seconds you can balance barefoot on your non-dominant foot with your eyes closed. The longer you can do it, the younger your “real age.”

Even though I took the test, I figured I ought to have more data so I had our younger two kids do it. Our youngest could only do it for about 5 seconds on any of his three or four trials. Our middle, did it for over 30 seconds and stopped. He figured it was long enough. According to, our twelve-year old has a balance-based real age of over 65 while our fourteen-year old and I are under 25.

My results made me feel good and matched what I thought about my own level of fitness. Which is what the balance test is really about – fitness and activity level. It makes sense that the more active we are, the better balance we should have. But I am sure there is more to it than that. I am sure that being overweight and other factors play into the whole balance thing. After all, it is all interrelated. Being overweight changes our center of gravity which affects our balance. The more we exercise and eat right, the less prone we are to being overweight. And the healthier we are in terms of activity level and weight, the better balance we have.

Obviously, I do not take the results of a simple test as the ultimate authority on how old I really am. Or as the definitive answer to whether I am healthy or not. But I do believe that if people cannot pass a simple test like the one on the Michael Mosley show, they ought to think more about their health.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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